When I was pregnant with my first, I remember making a list of all the different baby products that I needed to add to my registry (or buy myself) before baby arrived. I was convinced that a lot of unnecessary items were “must have baby products,” and that we needed them in order to survive. While there are a lot of suggestions out there (especially on Pinterest) for all those must-have items, you really don't need much!
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Now that I've had 2 babies, I have noticed that babies don't really need a plethora of items to keep them happy. There were a lot of things that I thought I needed that I just didn't use as much as I thought I would. Since I have multiple friends having babies, I thought I would make a list of must-have baby products, nice-to-have baby products, and you-can-do-without baby products. Granted, keep in mind this is my personal opinion. I would totally love to get all of your input on this! Please recommend your favorites and tell me about the products you thought you would need but ended up not being necessary. I didn't include all the obvious products like clothes, hygiene, etc., because those are no-brainers! *I will recommend that you do an Amazon baby registry. You can share it with your friends as a way to get good suggestions, and also as a way to remember product suggestions that you get from other moms. More on that here: 10 Things you should do the Moment you Get Pregnant
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MUST-HAVE Baby Products
Fisher Price Rock and Play. This one will forever be a must-have for me! I didn't have a Rock N Play with my first, but borrowed my sister's for my second (after she wouldn't stop raving about it). I actually had two sisters who used this before me and both of them raved about how well their babies slept in it (child #4 for both of them, so they knew what they were talking about). If your baby has any type of acid reflux, this bassinet will save you! The incline is perfect, and the way that it is made makes them feel like they are being cuddled, so our baby slept amazing in it! She was sleeping through the night at 5 weeks, but sadly stopped the heavenly behavior when we moved her into a crib at about 6-7 months. This thing also saved me because of how portable it is. It followed me in every room when I needed to be hands-free.
A good breast pump. This is only a must-have if you are nursing, and you don't have to get the most expensive ones in order to get awesome results. I have used both the Medela pump in style advanced and the Ameda Purely Yours, and even though the Ameda is quite a bit cheaper, I thought it worked just as good (or better). In fact, I seemed to be able to control the speed and suction strength MUCH easier with the Ameda.
Swaddle Blankets. Okay, so I almost considered putting these on the “nice-to-have” list, because you really don't have to have them, but we had them with our second and I LOVED them. With my first I just used a normal blanket because I thought it was dumb to spend extra money on a blanket just because it had velcro in special spots. Little did I know. We were always re-swaddling our first baby in the middle of the night, but not with these swaddle blankets. They are convenient for QUICKLY and efficiently swaddling, which in turn gave me more sleep. Anything that offers me more sleep makes the “must-have” list….hence the rock N Play bassinet.
Extra Pacifiers. If you end up with a binky-lovin' baby, you had better buy extra! I promise, you will thank yourself. Buy extra and save some in the car, in your house, in the diaper bag….you don't want to be without a binky! We now have purchased SO MANY pacifiers because we didn't bring along an extra and we ended up desperately running to the store for more when we were on the road or at Grandma's house. I'd also suggest a pacifier clip to help you from losing them. I've also heard people rave about wubbanubs for keeping the binky from falling out of baby's mouth, but we lost ours before it got good use!
Diapers. This one is a given, but I would recommend stocking up ahead of time. My husband totally made fun of me when I purchased a huge stock of diapers before our 1st of even born. Why did I do it? Because I was watching the sales and saw that Walgreens had them for $2.50 a package one week. You better believe I stocked up! And guess what? We didn't buy diapers for the entire first year of our baby's life. Add up those savings baby!
Nursing Cover. Again, only an essential if you are nursing, and if you don't like to show your goods while doing so. I have the Udder Cover brand which I love (I used one of their promo codes), but I've been looking into a nursing shawl since I would love some extra coverage.
Products for Keeping Baby's head round. I mentioned these in my post on tips for avoiding the baby helmet. Because of the advice to lay babies on their backs now a days, there are more and more cases of plagiocephaly, or flat-heads. We were grateful for the recommendations when our daughter started getting a flat head because we ended up saving $$$ on medical bills, and our baby didn't have to deal with the discomfort of helmet therapy.
Thermal Baby Bottle. These are great if you ever plan on going anywhere with baby and want to keep milk warm, cold or room temp. It keeps the liquid at whatever temp it is when you put it in the bottle. I love Pacific Baby brand because they have toddler sippy cup lids that fit on the bottles, so they grow with your child. Even if you breastfeed your baby like I do, there will be times when you may need to pump a bottle. Thermal bottles saved us on our trip to Hawaii!
Nice-To-Have Baby Products
This category is probably the funnest, and the one I would most love your suggestions! Even if I can't purchase it (or don't need to), I love “window shopping” and looking at all the fun (and creative) products that are out there. These are all the products that are very helpful and nice to have, but not quite as necessary (and not worth going in to debt for if you are short on cash).
A Baby Bum Brush. This may not be a must-have for everyone, but most would LOVE it. No more wiping diaper rash cream into your baby's bum crack with your bare hand! A friend actually invented this product and I think it's pure genius. It is now my go-to baby shower gift for the “new daddy”. It always brings a chuckle.
Baby Monitor. I can see how these would be nice, but I didn't use one with either of my babies and I didn't feel like I was at a loss. I don't live in a huge house though, so as long as I don't have music on, I can hear my babies crying. A video monitor would have been really nice during those first few months when I was paranoid, but we just didn't have the budget. I can totally see why some parents would consider this one a “must-have,” so maybe this is one of those things that are great to receive at a baby shower, rather than to purchase yourself.
Fun toys. This one belongs in both the nice-to-have-category as well as the you-can-do-without category. There are so many tempting baby toys out there, but babies really can be entertained with just about anything. It is nice to have a few developmental toys in my opinion.
Baby Bath Tubs. I really do enjoy baby bath tubs, but you use them for such a short amount of time and then they take up space in your basement or storage. I got sick of pulling mine out all the time and ended up just bathing my babies in the sink. I have been curios about the pillow type things that you can bath baby on, has anyone tried one of those?
Baby-Wearing Device. This one should probably be on the “must-have” list…because you will go crazy if you can't' ever be hands-free! So many people have opinions on what is the better product…some say Moby, some say Ergo…I'd love to hear all of your thoughts on this one since I have only used a cheap infantino (which worked great by the way).
Baby Products You-Can-Live-Without
Swing or Bouncer. I'm sure some would disagree, but I feel like you really only need a swing OR a bouncer, not both. Baby stuff can start to take over the house pretty quickly.
Exersaucer. Okay, let me explain. This is the one we bought and neither of my babies liked it very much and it took up a lot of space. We also tried one with wheels, and again…they got bored with it fast. However, I have seen some really fancy ones that bounce and have tons of interactive stuff on them. I would say if you are going to buy an exersaucer, pay extra for a nice one. I would also suggest buying one that folds up easily so that it's not constantly taking up space. Otherwise they are totally lame. Does anyone have a favorite in this category?
The Boppy. This one might get disagreements, because I usually only meet people who either love it or hate it. Not to many in-betweeners. I found it kind of useless for nursing. I guess not completely useless, but I found a normal pillow to provide better flexibility for positioning a nursing baby. If you are a first-time mom, you might consider borrowing a Boppy for your first week to see if you like it.
Diaper Pail. I convinced my husband that this was a “necessary” item because I hated walking out to the garbage for every single poopy, and I didn't want them smelling up the house either. I ended up ditching it with my 2nd, because I found it still smelled a little bit, and it filled up too fast: I was always buying new bags for it. For our second kid, we have a grocery bag hanging from the outside of the back door, and I take it to the garbage at the end of the day. Tacky? Most likely. I do however recommend getting the scented diaper bags that you can keep in your diaper bag for those wonderful occasions when baby poops while you are at a function or party or whatever.